Friday, June 17, 2011

I don't know how to feel

And yet, I do. It's a stepped-on, violated feeling. It's as if the city has been raped. And I'm not even in the heart of the damage. In the core of the heartbreak, small businesses are contemplating the possibility of permanently going under. Suddenly, a flood of high-end goods has appeared on Craigslist, Louis Vuitton bags and Manolo Blahniks and such, at bargain prices as the thugs seek to quickly unload their "hot" goods for a profit.

My only consolation is that these people are incredibly stupid, which means they will eventually be caught. Or so I hope. They ruined Vancouver's "moment", our chance to prove once and for all that 1994 was an unrepeatable fluke, and forever tainted the world's view of our beautiful city.

The foreign press has referred to us as a "backwater fishing village". Rioting over an "ice hockey game" has turned us into a laughingstock. I feel heavy, as if I weigh about 500 pounds. There is something like a stone sitting on my heart.

There is something I must write about before that stone crushes me, and I want to preface it by saying that this represents strictly my own perceptions of a situation I was not directly involved in. Last night I talked to my daughter, an intrepid, multi-award-winning reporter who was in the thick of the riot, smelled the smoke and heard the screams.

For several hours I lost touch with her, and as it turned out, she was indeed stuck in the worst of it, walking along alone without even a cameraman for protection. Since she's an attractive blonde who weighs 104 pounds, she could have been raped or killed.

I talked to her on the phone yesterday and heard her desperate disillusionment. Even as the game started and the thousands of spectators mobbed in the downtown, she felt the hairs on her neck stand up. She went back to the office and said, "We've got to get ready, guys. There's going to be a riot." Everyone was sure she was crazy. They brushed her off, even felt offended.

But she read the crowd correctly. She believes this would have happened, win or lose. Those thugs were just waiting for an opportunity. They were not even watching the screen. The air was electric, the crowd tensed for an explosion such as we've never seen.

Now she feels vindicated. But (and this is strictly my own opinion, not anything she told me: if anyone tries to get her in trouble over this I will scream blue murder) what happens in situations like this is that the other person, the person who refused to believe in the possibility of horrific damage, is embarrassed. So that means SHE embarrassed THEM by being correct! This kind of rare gift, not just of perception but of individual courage, does not lead to rewards, but to ostracism and humiliated silence.

What sort of world is it where such unusual, invaluable sensitivity is shunted aside and ignored, then swept under the rug like a source of embarrassment? She cried, "Fire! Fire!" and everyone said, "Chill out, there's no fire. You're just a killjoy."

Even the cops missed it. I don't care what anyone says: the cops bungled it.  They made a hash of it and won't even admit it! My daughter alone knew exactly what was coming, and everyone told her she was crazy. 

I don't know how to feel. Or perhaps I do. Every time I think of the situation I get a sick feeling. This has added a new layer to the shock and disgust. Who knows how much of this hell could have been prevented, but it wasn't. It wasn't, because they told her she was crazy. Crazy for being able to perceive and understand the enormity of the coming storm.